When you first get into crafting, the best thing you will discover is fabric glue.
After spending many evenings trying to sew on patches and trying to keep a hem perfectly straight, finding out you can just use glue is a game-changer.
Of course, many crafters have the patience for these tasks and enjoy the slow, repetitive nature of the work.
But, if you have just spent hours sewing and just want an easy way to add on a patch (or if you have zero sewing skills and are reading this article for some help), fabric glue is a great choice.
So, whether you’re an expert sewer or are completely new to altering clothing and fabric, we’re here to help you out. Read on to find out the best fabric glue for patches.
Just a word before we get started. As with all adhesives, there are many fabric glues out there that are toxic to both you and the environment.
So, to keep you and the planet as safe and toxin-free as possible, we’ve tried our very best to provide you with the most eco-friendly fabric glues around.
Top 5 Best Fabric Glue for Patches
OUR TOP PICK
Our top pick for the best fabric glue for patches is this Bearly Art Precision Craft Glue.
This glue is strong but flexible and comes in a kit with multiple nozzles. This glue can be used for small, delicate projects or big works of art that require large amounts of adhesive.
The name of this glue is very appropriate (the “precision”, not the bear…) as it comes with multiple nozzles. This is really useful as sometimes you might be working with large patches that need a big blob of glue.
Other times, you may be using small, delicate patches that just need a small, precise dab.
With this fabric glue, you can be sure that you will be precise and careful with all of your patches. Using any kind of glue is always messy, but using glue on fabric can be a bit of a trial.
If you accidentally get glue on the wrong piece of fabric, it will be difficult to get off and might be spoiled.
One of the problems with some fabric glues is that they dry very hard. This is fine on tougher fabrics but can be irritating on finer materials.
This glue promises that it is flexible and won’t crack when dry. It dries to a flexible feel and is wrinkle-resistant so won’t cause irritation or feel uncomfortable if you’re adding patches to clothing.
This glue is a little more expensive than usual, but you do get value for money with the inclusion of multiple nozzles.
This brand also sells refill bottles, so you won’t be causing waste by purchasing the set again and ending up with more nozzles that you don’t need.
- Multiple nozzles
- Flexible when dry
- Refill bottles available to buy separately
- A little more expensive than average
Aleene’s is one of the best-known brands when it comes to crafting and fabric glue. You know that you will be able to trust this glue to keep your patches in place.
One of the best aspects of this glue is that it comes in a pen. This is really great for patches as you will be able to spread a liberal amount of glue across the middle and then carefully add more around the edges.
Most fabric glues come in standard glue bottles which usually have small, tapered openings. But they can be large, heavy, and difficult to control so the edges can be tricky and it can be difficult to only squeeze out a small amount.
The pen style is also really useful for smaller patches that only need a small dab of glue.
This glue is also really affordable. Fabric glues aren’t all that expensive, but as you will get two pens in this packet and two for the (current at the time of writing) price is very good.
This is a great option if you want something that is easy to use and easy to store away. As they are pens, they won’t have as much glue in them as others. But they are great for an infrequent crafter.
- Well-known brand
- Pen style
- Small amount of glue
Bish’s Original Tear Mender is another well-known and classic brand when it comes to textile tools and products.
This glue can be used on a wide range of different fabrics. Some fabric glues aren’t as tough and long-lasting as you would like as they are intended for crafting.
But, if you’re adding patches to a tough material like denim or leather, then you’re going to need something with a bit of extra grip.
This glue is strong and durable and great for more heavy-duty fabrics. It dries to industrial levels and is designed to be used to repair rips and tears or hems that have come away.
You can trust that this glue will keep your patches in place but this tough-drying strength doesn’t mean that the area beneath your patch will be hard.
Some glues can dry almost to a solid and will crack if bent, which isn’t practical for clothing. This glue is tough but still flexible and will keep your clothes comfortable.
This glue is also available in many different sizes and variations. This glue is a great option if you only need to add on a couple of patches or if you run a crafting business and regularly need large amounts of glue.
- Available in multiple sizes
- Multiple versions available
- Industrial strength hold
- Short shelf life
This fabric glue is a great choice if you only ever attach the odd patch. Although there are multiple sizes available, there isn’t very much glue inside the bottle. It is about as much as the average super glue bottle.
But, you do get your money’s worth as it comes in a kit that includes two auxiliary tools that will help you to spread the glue out and make sure you apply it neatly and carefully.
This glue dries very quickly, so you won’t have to hang about waiting to see if it has worked or not. Some glues need to be left for several hours under something heavy for them to properly take hold, but you won’t have that problem with this glue.
As it dries so quickly, this can be a problem. If the bottle is left open for too long, the glue inside will begin to dry. This is fine if you will only be using it every now and then and if you properly replace the cap straight after use.
This glue is great for irregular use but is not suitable for regular crafters. It will work well but as there is not much glue inside the bottle and it dries so quickly, you won’t be able to use this over long periods of time.
- Comes in a kit with
- Multiple sizes available
- Dries out quickly
The style of this glue is almost a cross between a traditional glue bottle and a more modern glue pen. It is longer and thinner than most glue bottles but still holds a decent amount of glue.
It has the classic pointed nozzle and so can be used for delicate crafts. That said, with 2.1fl oz it is smaller than the standard 4fl oz bottle, but this is reflected in the price and the glue is still affordable.
This is a great option if you’re planning on applying patches to a strong material like denim but won’t work well on more delicate fabrics.
The glue is quite thick and heavy and may seep through finer, thinner fabrics. This should be okay as patches are usually very thick and you wouldn’t want them on a thin fabric, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
- Flexible when dry
- Dries clear
- Permanent bond
- Doesn’t work well on thin fabrics
Best Fabric Glue for Patches Buying Guide
Bottle vs Pen
Fabric glues will usually come either in a large bottle with a long nozzle or in a thinner, longer pen shape with a shorter nozzle. There are, of course, variants on this, and some glues are available in sets that come with different nozzles and nozzle tips.
There isn’t a set rule on buying a pen or a bottle as both are great but useful for different things. If you’re working with patches that are small, delicate, or are complex shapes that have a lot of edges and small sections then a pen is a great idea.
Pens often have a metal tip at the end which can help with accuracy. Pens also don’t allow as much glue to come out, so you’re much more in control of the small, tricky sections.
Pens are also great for the odd touch-up. Even the strongest fabric glue can be worn away, subjected to the elements, or just come away a little if the patch gets caught on something.
A pen is useful to have to hand as you can just slip the tiny nozzle under the patch and add a little dab. This isn’t really possible with most bottled glues as you won’t be as in control over how much comes out.
If, alternatively, you regularly work with medium or large size patches then a normal bottle is a great idea. If you need to cover large amounts of space, this will take a long time if you use a pen with a tiny nozzle.
Bottles usually have much more in them, so are better if you’re regularly working with large patches.
If you’re looking for a glue just to have about the house when you want to add a bit of customization to your clothing, then either a bottle or a pen will do. But be careful as some glues have a relatively short shelf life, so may dry out if not used regularly and are left for long periods of time.
Overall, the best answer is to actually buy both. They have different uses but both can be used on one patch. If you’re working with a large patch, you can use the bottle to add a large blob in the middle and then use a pen around the edges.
If you’re a regular crafter, it’s a good idea to have both in your kit. They aren’t the most expensive items (especially compared to a lot of other crafting products) so it will be worth it.
This kind of overlaps with the information above. Fabric glue nozzles can come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and lengths. This means it can be difficult to find a universal one as patches are also very variable.
If you’re a regular crafter who uses a lot of different fabrics and patch styles, it’s a good idea to get a kit. Kits will usually include one bottle and a range of different nozzles. This is great, as you won’t have to invest in a new bottle of glue just to get the nozzle you need.
If you’re an infrequent crafter, do some research into the kind of glue you’re buying. Lots of bottled glues will have a sealed nozzle that needs to be cut off.
After the end of the nozzle has been cut off the glue will begin to dry out. This will take a while and the glue should be okay if the cap is replaced properly, but it’s still something to consider.
Fabric glues will also come in a range of strengths. Carefully read the description before you buy any glue as some glues are only good for certain fabrics. You may need different glues if, for example, you’re working with a tough fabric like leather or denim compared to a softer fabric like that of a t-shirt.
There are also many fabric glues available that are only temporary. These glues are intended to be used to hold fabrics together while you sew them. Instead of using pins that make it difficult, get in the way, and don’t always allow for a clean line.
But, that said, they can be an option if you’re not quite sure how to style your patches and want to see how they will look. It can be difficult to know exactly how a patch will look once it has been attached.
This is especially true of clothing as, even if you use pins, you still can’t be 100% how it will sit when you wear the item. They are still a useful item to have in your crafting and sewing kit, so are worth looking in to. But temporary glues are definitely not suitable for patches as they will come off.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you stick a patch on clothes?
Yes, you absolutely can. The most common thing people attach patches to is clothing. They’re most commonly attached to clothing items like denim and leather jackets or jeans.
They can also be attached to bags and or even shoes. There are plenty of weather-resistant glues available that will be able to keep patches in place.
Can you glue an iron-on patch?
You can, but you need to be careful. It can be annoying when an iron-on patch begins to peel as the adhesive can often be difficult to reactivate. This means that you often can’t iron over any peeling areas.
In these situations, it’s absolutely fine to use fabric glue. It might not stick perfectly if there’s still iron-on adhesive on the fabric, but it should do a good enough job.
But, absolutely do not use fabric glue and then iron it. If you’re thinking that adding a little fabric glue to the patch before ironing will give it a bit of extra hold, stop what you are doing right now. This will cause a huge mess, you can potentially burn the glue, or end up with glue all over your iron or even yourself.
So, overall, yes you can use fabric glue on an iron-on patch but do not iron over the glue.
Does fabric glue stay on in the wash?
They absolutely should. There are some, as mentioned above, that are temporary and designed to easily come off. These will usually come off in the wash but normal fabric glue will not.
If you buy a reliable, good quality fabric glue and use enough of it for the patch to stick properly, then it will be fine. They will also stay on in lots of weather conditions, so you won’t have to worry about the patch coming off in any wet weather.